Sony HVR-A1U HDV Camcorder
Sony has improved upon the key attributes of traditional CMOS sensors with proprietary technology and this innovative CMOS device is also accompanied by Sony’s Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP).
The EIP enables the high-speed processing required for capturing high-definition video images, and allows an HDV camcorder to record and playback high-quality still images. The first professional high-definition application of this enhanced imaging technology is in the HVR-A1U model. EIP technology is also at the core of a new consumer product counterpart, the Sony HDR-HC1 Handycam.
“The combination of a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor with our Enhanced Imaging Processor enables a camcorder to capture and process high-definition video and still images with unprecedented levels of gradation, providing highly detailed image reproduction from a single imager,” said Brian Young, Strategic Marketing Manager, Broadcast & Communications Solutions Group, Sony of Canada Ltd. “Building on our long history of imager and camera development, the HVR-A1U offers our customers yet another powerful option among the many diverse HD acquisition tools in the Sony product family.”
The new HVR-A1U model now offers professional videographers a new entry-level option for the capture and playback of HD images. The HVR-A1U offers many of the same features as the HVR-Z1U, such as balanced audio, XLR inputs, SMPTE timecode and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar® T* Lens. However, its smaller footprint makes this camcorder ideal for applications where space is at a premium or extreme mobility is required. For example, potential applications may include mounting on a skydiver’s helmet or placement on the hood of a racecar.
Sony’s CMOS sensor produces natural and rich tones for both light and dark areas of an image. To achieve wide dynamic range, EIP technology employs an algorithm that separates image data into its texture patterns and brightness components.
CMOS-based technology helps eliminate the presence of smear, which can be produced by charge-coupled device (CCD) images and appears as vertical white bands stretching from the top to the bottom of an image and occurs when something extremely bright like a pin-point light source is shot.
Sony has reduced the size of the transistors within an image’s pixel matrix, allowing for a larger area of the photo-sensitive portion of the pixel and enabling more light to be taken in than with a conventional CMOS sensor. In addition, the Correlated Double Sampling circuits on the sensor achieve extremely low-noise image quality.
Sony’s CMOS-based sensor circuitry runs at lower voltage and consumes less power than conventional CCD-based processors, resulting not only in longer battery life but also allowing for the use of smaller batteries so the camcorders can be smaller overall.
The HVR-A1U can record and playback HDV, DVCAM™ and DV content on a mini-cassette and has the ability to down-convert footage into standard definition. A high resolution wide-screen Hybrid liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor is also included.
Still image capture – Maximum pixel size for still images is 2.8M (1920 X 1440 pixels) in Memory Mode. Users can record 1.2M (1440x810) pixels in Tape and Play/Edit Mode;
High Quality Video – In video mode it produces 2.1M (1920 X 1080) pixels in 16 X 9 mode or 1.5M (1440 X 1080)pixels in 4 X 3 mode;
Histogram Indicator – Similar to the histogram view in common image processing software programs, users can check the brightness of an object and easily adjust exposure by viewing this graphical presentation;
Tele Macro – This feature enables users to capture a macro image from a distance, especially useful for shooting smaller moving objects, and it also provides the ability to make subjects more prominent against a backdrop and to suppress shadow projection; and
Super Night Shot – The HVR-Z1U is the world’s first professional HD camera to support night shot capability, allowing the camera to shoot in complete darkness.
Professional Media Optimized for HDV Applications
Sony’s highest-quality 6mm videotape, DigitalMaster, is the recommended professional media for HDV applications. These 63-minute cassettes (model PHDVM63DM) use Sony’s AME (Advanced Metal Evaporated) II Technology and its unique dual-active magnetic layers.
By improving on an already successful product, the new AME II manufacturing process employs Hyper Evaticle IV magnetic grains, improved lubricants, and a refined Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) layer. DigitalMaster tape exhibits greater packing density of magnetic grains, higher retentivity, higher output and lower noise. The result is a more robust tape with 60 percent fewer dropouts and 90 percent fewer errors.